South Charlotte

Levine JCC touts its after-school program

The Levine Jewish Community Center is the recipient of Charlotte Magazine's 2011 Best of the Best award in the After-School Program category. Levine JCC also won this award in 2008.

South Charlottean Staci Mond is pleased with the J-Team Afterschool Program at the Levine JCC.

Mond, 48, an occupational therapist, and her husband Darren, 49, a research and development manager, need part-time care for their two children Lauren, 9, and David, 7. Lauren and David are rising fourth- and second-graders, respectively. They are about to start their third year with the J-Team.

"The program is special for many reasons, but the main one is the trust I have for the staff," said Mond. "I am counting on them to take care of my kids. I know that they will be picked up on time. I know that they will have supervised homework time. I know they will have some recreational time, and I know they will be safe."

The Levine JCC's J-Team Afterschool Program enrolls kindergarteners through fifth-graders and provides transportation from the Charlotte Jewish Day School and seven other elementary schools, Elizabeth Lane, Lansdowne, McAlpine, Olde Providence, Providence Spring, Sharon and Selwyn.

Mond appreciates the transportation options and likes that her children get to meet friends from other elementary schools.

"I also value the convenience of the program," said Mond. "While I am finishing my work day, they might be enjoying one of the extracurricular classes at the JCC."

The staff take both kids to the LJCC Jaws swim practices and take David to karate. The staff bring them back to the J-team for later pick-up by Mond.

"Having that free transportation option is so wonderful, as time is a precious commodity these days," said Mond.

The after-school program runs from 3 to 6 p.m. "When the children arrive, they are split up into their different age groups to begin working on their homework," said Mitch Ormand, Family and Youth Services program supervisor. "Afterwards, they have their snack, and then they will have a planned activity for the day."

From Ormand's perspective, the 18-year-old program is special partly because the children know the staff so well.

"Ninety percent of our staff work here during the summer with Camp Mindy, and most of the children have formed relationships with them," said Ormand.

Having access to multiple enrichment classes like tennis, ceramics and art is a plus. The J-team also has a newly outfitted Mac computer lab.

J-team participation has grown 35 percent since winning the Best of the Best award in 2008, but they are still accepting applications for the fall.

"I like J-team because I get to do art projects, talk with my friends and the staff is really nice," said Lauren Mond. "They help me with homework, if I need it."